Astronomers have discovered eight new planets in a distant solar system, and called one of them the most "Earth-like alien world" that has ever been found. Three of the planets are said to be potentially habitable, with the Earth-like one having a rocky surface and only slightly warmer temperature.
BBC News reported on Wednesday that the discovery was announced at the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington. The planets were spotted by NASA's Kepler telescope, which has now discovered over 1,000 exoplanets.
The Earth-like planet, dubbed Kepler 438b, is believed to resemble the conditions of Earth even more so than Kepler 186f, which was previously said to be a twin planet to Earth. more >>
MIAMI BEACH — Media coverage of debates over the Bible, the origin of life and God can mischaracterize many people by suggesting there are only two sides — creationists and evolutionists. There are at least six different overlapping categories, according to professor Jeff Hardin, an evangelical biophysicist and chair of the zoology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Those different views are based upon whether the supernatural is possible and the extent to which one believes science is in conflict with the Bible, Hardin explained for a Nov. 18 lecture hosted by the Ethics & Public Policy Center's "Faith Angle Forum."
The Faith Angle Forum treats journalists from across the country to in-depth discussions from experts on issues related to religious belief. (A transcript and audio of Hardin's talk is available here. You can also watch a profile of the Faith Angle Forum by ABC News here.) more >>
Russia has awarded its largest scientific grant ever to Moscow State University that will allow the school to proceed with a project called "Noah's Ark, "which inspires to be the world's first DNA databank consisting of genetic material from every living and extinct creature, which they will house in a giant ark.
The approval of the approximate $194 million government grant was first reported last week by Russia's English outlet RT, and will require not only building a 430-square-kilometer ark, but also the daunting task of actually collecting DNA from every living creature and the ones that have long been extinct.
"I call the project 'Noah's Ark,'" MSU Rector Viktor Sadivnichy told journalists. "It will involve the creation of a depository — a databank for the storing of every living thing on Earth, including not only living, but disappearing and extinct organisms. This is the challenge we have set for ourselves." more >>
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson took to Twitter to address controversy surrounding several tweets he published on Christmas Day, which some called anti-Christian and offensive to Muslims and Jews.
"Merry Christmas to all. A pagan holiday (BC) becomes a religious holiday (AD). Which then becomes a shopping holiday (USA)," Tyson tweeted. "QUESTION: This year, what do all the world's Muslims and Jews call December 25th? ANSWER: Thursday. Santa knows physics: Of all colors, red light penetrates fog best. That's why Benny the blue-nosed reindeer never got the gig."
The most offensive tweet seen by many paid homage to Isaac Newton, who was also born on Dec. 25. more >>
The Food and Drug Administration has announced that it's easing restrictions on gay men donating blood, reversing a policy enacted during the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic decades earlier.
In a statement released Tuesday, the FDA said easing the ban came after several years of research into the matter.
"Following this review, and taking into account the recommendations of advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA, the agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact," stated the FDA. more >>
Atheist author and activist Sam Harris has taken aim at the head of the National Institutes of Health, arguing that he's an example of an intelligent person pushing religion.
In a recent podcast, Harris cited former director of the Human Genome Research Institute, Dr. Francis Collins, as "a bit of a Bible-thumper."
"He believes in evolution, thankfully, but he also believes that immortal souls and free will were just downloaded onto the hard drive of only one species of primate at some point in history by an almighty God," Harris commented. more >>